Calling himself @theoldcfo on Twitter, Gene Morphis got done in by his use of new media — Twitter and Facebook, in particular.
Morphis, who was CFO of Francesca’s Holding Corp., made the mistake of posting inappropriate information about company doings, according to the Wall Street Journal:
On March 6, for instance, he tweeted: “Dinner w/Board tonite. Used to be fun. Now one must be on guard every second.” The following day, he posted “Board meeting. Good numbers=Happy Board.”
On March 13 Mr. Morphis posted on Facebook about a company earnings call: “Earnings released. Conference call completed. How do you like me now Mr. Shorty?”
Months earlier, on Dec. 5, he posted about another investor call. “Cramming for earnings call like a final. I thought I had outgrown that…”
Mr. Morphis also posted about an investor road show on Jan. 27: “Roadshow completed. Sold $275 million of secondary shares. Earned my pay this week.” (The retailer held an initial public offering last July.)
The company said it launched an internal investigation with the assistance of outside counsel after discovering the activity on Friday afternoon. The company said Mr. Morphis was “terminated for cause.”
Francesca’s did have a social-media policy, according to the article, but creating a workable policy is no easy task in this ever-changing social-media world.
We recently ran an article on HREOnline™ that addresses the “Legal Ambiguities of Social Media,” by Seyfarth Shaw attorneys Jeffrey Berman and Erin Dougherty Foley. It’s definitely worth a read.